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Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement

  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • John F. Kain
  • Steven G. Rivkin

Considerable controversy surrounds the impact of schools and teachers on the achievement of students. This paper disentangles the separate factors influencing achievement with special attention given to the role of teacher differences and other aspects of schools. Unique matched panel data from the Harvard/UTD Texas Schools Project permit distinguishing between total effects and the impact of specific, measured components of teachers and schools. While schools are seen to have powerful effects on achievement differences, these effects appear to derive most importantly from variations in teacher quality. A lower bound suggests that variations in teacher quality account for at least 7« percent of the total variation in student achievement, and there are reasons to believe that the true percentage is considerably larger. The subsequent analysis estimates educational production functions based on models of achievement growth with individual fixed effects. It identifies a few systematic factors a negative impact of initial years of teaching and a positive effect of smaller class sizes for low income children in earlier grades but these effects are very small relative to the effects of overall teacher quality differences.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6691.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6691
Note: CH
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  1. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. John F. Kain & Kraig Singleton, 1996. "Equality of education opportunity revisited," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 87-114.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  4. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. A. W. Coats, 1996. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 3-11, Supplemen.
  6. Michael Boozer & Cecilia Rouse, 1995. "Intraschool Variation in Class Size: Patterns and Implications," NBER Working Papers 5144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 1996. "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number tptq.
  8. Boozer, M. & Rouse, C., 1995. "Intraschool Variation in Class Size: Patterns and Implications," Papers 728, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  9. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  10. Michael Boozer & Cecilia Rouse, 1995. "Intraschool Variation in Class Size: Patterns and Implications," Working Papers 723, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 1997. "Understanding the Twentieth-Century Growth in U.S. School Spending," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 35-68.
  12. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  13. Caroline M. Hoxby, 1998. "The Effects of Class Size and Composition on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Natural Population Variation," NBER Working Papers 6869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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